Leaving your children to go to work is tough for many moms, but it’s even more difficult when you don’t like your job. That was the dilemma for Liz Pankner, who came up with the unique approach that ended up giving her the work life balance she craved. Liz needed to dump the stress of juggling career and kids by learning some new hacks, and she was able to do that while taking time off. Liz was a teacher who didn’t think she had the schedule or job that fit her life. If you don’t have the work life balance you want, it might be time for you to make a change by following these 10 hacks.
(10) Take time off
Vacation or maternity leave is the perfect time to reassess your priorities and explore new possibilities in order to create a better work life balance. Liz was working full-time as a teacher when she had her first child and decided to be a stay-at-home mom. “I did stay home without working for about a year,” Liz said. After a year, she “was missing my career but still wanted the opportunity to be able to be with my children.”
She didn’t want to leave her baby five days a week, and she didn’t love teaching enough to put her child in daycare even as an occasional sub. But Liz craved a return to work, so she took a leap and decided to leave teaching behind.
(9) Explore new possibilities
“In the very beginning of it I was like: what do I want to do with myself to be happy every day versus what I thought other people wanted me to do or what I felt like I needed to do?” Liz wondered. “I really had to look back at myself and figure out what I needed.”
(8) Try a new career
Liz was willing to work hard to find a job in a new career knowing she didn’t have any experience and she wasn’t willing to commit to full time work. Despite those challenges, it is possible to jump into something new and be successful eventually.
(7) Seek out supportive family or friends
Liz said she was able to switch careers because she has “a lot of support from my husband. I think that’s really helpful because I wasn’t super happy with what I was doing before.”
(6) Be willing to start at the bottom
A new career meant learning new skills just to get a foot in the door, and that’s not easy to do after kids come along. “I had to spend a little time upfront studying and getting myself ready for this new career before I was able to just leave my previous one,” Liz explained. “Once I was ready to make the switch, it was hard. But I did it because I knew I’d be happier.”
(5) Prepare for difficulties
Liz had to confront all the worries that come with being a working mom. She discovered it was tougher than she thought it would be.“When I do have to work, there’s always that possibility that my child’s going to be sick or my caretaker is going to be sick,” Liz said. “So I worry about that a lot, and it’s just something I think every working
parent has to deal with and come up with a back-up plan. I feel like I’m juggling more, but I also feel more fulfilled because I’m able to do two things versus choosing my career or staying home.”
(4) Stay committed to your new choice
Liz said her passion for developing a new part-time career and staying home with their kids the rest of the time helped carry her through the ups and downs. “I don’t have the same job that I had” when I first switched careers, she acknowledged. “I’ve gone through a couple different jobs to get to the point where I am now.”
(3) Push for the schedule you want
Now Liz works for a big international gym as a fitness coach two days a week. “I was able to work part-time hours around my husband’s schedule. I work early mornings and late evenings, so that we could take turns taking care of the children,” Liz said.
(2) Choose what to sacrifice
Even when we are able to find a job in a new career and negotiate our version of an ideal schedule, you still may not feel you “have it all” because there are things you don’t have time for. Liz has to get up really early to get in her own work out before she coaches others or nurtures her boys, who are 2 and 5. “I do get up at 4:30 in the morning, so I guess I am missing out on some sleep,” Liz realizes. “I’m able to go work out before my kids wake up and before my husband even wakes up. And it’s done and out of the way. So that is a priority for me for sure.” She admitted that she feels a little more exhausted or cranky because she’s not getting as much sleep as she used to. “Yes, I miss my sleep, absolutely. I try to sneak in a little nap here and there when I’m able to, but it’s hard.”
Liz is happy with her new life and doesn’t think about going back to being a stay-at-home mom. “Honestly I think it’s because I’ve chosen to go part-time,” Liz said. “I think it’s actually made my life better because I do have that balance. I think that I’m happier overall, so the choice was the right thing for me.”
(1) Prioritize self care
Liz says she still misses things she no longer has time for, like playing tennis or just being alone. But she prioritizes self-care and encourages other moms to do the same. “Listen to yourself; make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Try not to take care of everybody else first. I think as moms that’s what we do, and although that is part of our job, you are the most important thing because you can’t be a good mom, a good wife, a good employee or anything until you’re able to figure out what you need to do. Just dig deep down and figure out what that is.”
Taking that journey to figure out how to adjust your work life to fit your home life can transform your emotional state from stress to fulfillment. You can even help other moms dump their stress too. Don’t judge or preach when you see other moms struggling.
Instead, spread a little of your own love to another mom who needs it.